Google Tweaks Link Evaluation Signal, Bing Frees Its API, Monthly Google+ Use Is Shorter Than Most Songs, & More

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This Week’s Industry News

Compiled By Rocket Clicks

Google Explains 40 February Search Quality Changes

Google made a record 40 changes to their algorithm and other major search factors in February, and was kind enough to run down every one of them. A few updated features are highlighted as separate stories below (mobile drop down menu, ‘Related Searches,’), but other notables include the removal and addition of “fresh” ranking factors, increased crawling intervals, tempered local search signals, and the removal of a link evaluation rank factor. Source: Google Inside Search Blog

Bing Opens Webmaster Tools API To The Masses

The death of Yahoo’s API indexing tool was met with solemn irreverence, but Bing is on the verge of resurrecting it. Bing announced its Bing Webmaster Tools API will allow developers access to valuable, previously concealed data. Source: Search Engine Roundtable

Facebook Pages Now Feature Real-Time Analytics

Watching real-time analytics can be mesmerizing, and so is Facebook. Both have been recently combined, much to the delight of time wasters and data geeks everywhere. These features include Page post metrics, People Talking About This, Reach (Organic, Paid, Viral) and Engaged Users. Source: Mashable

Google Drop Down Menu Resurfaces On Mobile Devices

Google didn’t kill its drop down black menu from its logo, it was simply transferred to mobile devices. That appears to be the recent case if you use Google on your smartphone, as the drop down menu shows up when you click on the upper left-hand logo. Source: Search Engine Land

Google Image Search Incorporates Scroll-Over Previews In ‘Related Searches’

Google’s page preview in organic search results has been around for quite a while, so it’s only natural that they would transfer it, in some capacity, to other search sections. Specifically, Google’s image search has a “related searches” bar at the top of the image results. Now, when you scroll over a suggested link, a preview bar consisting of three images will pop up. Source: Search Engine Watch

Pinterest Now Offers a ‘Nopin’ Option

Content producers now have a way to ‘opt-out’ of Pinterest if they choose a ‘nopin’ option associated with their material. Pinterest has expanded over the past year reaching 13 million users. As it gains popularity, companies have become increasingly afraid of affiliate link-swapping and copyright infringement. Source: Search Engine Journal

There Are Ramones Songs Longer Than The Time People Spend On Google+ Each Month

According to a recent comScore report, people only spend 3.3 minutes on Google+ every month. Facebook users, however, come in around the 7.5 hour mark. That’s a very stark difference, and further proof that actual user totals don’t always correlate with usage numbers. Source: Mashable

If Hackers Are Hannibal Lecter, Google Is Clarice Starling

Sometimes criminals are necessary for solving a mystery. Google seems to be embracing that strategy as they seek to solidify Chrome’s security. The search engine is enlisting the help of hackers to remedy these unseen problems, offering a bounty of $1 million as a reward. The system is tiered based on how deep a hacker can get, ranging from a “Full Chrome exploit,” to a “Consolation reward, Flash/Windows/other.” Source: Mashable

Facebook Could Face Lawsuit From Yahoo Over Advertising Patents

Yahoo is threatening legal action against Facebook if the world’s leading social network continues using Yahoo’s advertising patents without a license. Yahoo is claiming they own patents for some parts of Facebook’s advertising system. This could be the first legitimate shot fired in the technology patent wars, as Google, Apple, Microsoft and other major technology companies may head down a road of litigation to protect their patent exclusivity. Source: Search Engine Watch

Facebook’s Timeline Immersed Into Brand Pages

Facebook is now transforming organizational advertisements in social media with the new Timeline option. This new platform gives companies a chance to design beautiful ads that can be placed as cover photos or as their own ‘page’ so that an organization can have its own identity. Source: Mashable

Mobile Internet Will Reach 1 Billion People By 2012

Google’s smartphone and mobile internet study predicted that 1 billion people will be using Mobile Internet as their first search in 2012. Since search engines are a frequent touch point, apps are so user friendly, and purchasing pages are simple, mobile’s role will become increasingly popular. Source: Search Engine Land

Tweets For Sale!

For the first time ever, Twitter has sold a boatload of tweets to a marketing research company (DataSift). Twitter did not comment on the report, although DataSift confirmed it. There is obvious marketing value in two year’s worth of tweets, and gaining access to these 140 character treasures is about as easy as obtaining Green Bay Packers season tickets (1,000+ companies are on Twitter’s waiting list). Source: Mashable

Notable Commentary

To Keep Your Pinterested

A Baker’s Dozen Theories About Google’s Updated Link Analysis

Bill Slawski’s ventures into the patent/technical side of Google are always insightful. Recently, he tackled Google’s cryptic announcement that something in the algorithm’s ranking signal was changed. Specifically, he offers 12 possibilities centered on a new way of analyzing links. Analysis By: Bill Slawski, SEO By The Sea

Solid eCommerce SEO Strategies

Implementing an SEO strategy on an eCommerce website can be very time consuming and challenging simply because they are often very large. Sujan Patel offers some suggestions for immediately improving an eCommerce site’s SEO profile. Analysis By: Sujan Patel, Search Engine Journal

Capitalizing On That Treasured Mobile Traffic

Last week, we covered the Grand Canyon gap between mobile browser use and mobile-compatible websites. Thankfully, Bryson Meunier has a wonderfully useful guide to optimizing your site for mobile users, emphasizing simplicity and convenience. Analysis By: Bryson Meunier, Search Engine Land

How Important Are Check-In Services For Local Google Results?

Very, so says Chris Silver Smith of Search Engine Land. He carefully lays out the rise of check-in services such as foursquare and Gowalla, and explores some of the theories for the actual measurements/relevance factors Google uses in these popular apps. Analysis By: Chris Silver Smith, Search Engine Land

Recommendations For Getting The Most Out Of Your Pinterest Traffic

Pinterest is hot and everyone knows it. Steam Driven Media is a model company in its usage of Pinterest to drive traffic and client sales. Steve Gerencser gives tips regarding bounce rate, board names, and other marketing tactics to drive targeted traffic. Analysis By: Miranda Miller, Search Engine Watch

Be Wary Of Pinterest’s Looming Copyright Issues…

Pinterest is being lauded as a gold mine for retail marketers, DIY wedding planners, and general time wasting associated with social networks. However, there’s a dark side to this increasingly popular website, located in the Terms of Service (big surprise). A lawyer recently discovered the burden of proof for any copyright issue that arises from Pinterest use will fall squarely on the poster’s shoulders. Analysis By: Alyson Shontell, Business Insider

Why Google+ Engagement Is Irrelevant

It’s very easy to joke about the seismic gap in Facebook and Google+ user activity, but doing so misses the point of Google’s social network entirely. At least that’s what Miranda Miller says, arguing that Google doesn’t need engagement to gather user intelligence. Analysis By: Miranda Miller, Search Engine Watch

Google Is Sucker Punching White Hat SEOs, While Wearing Brass Knuckles

In a spirited post on SEOmoz, Wil Reynolds outlines some of Google’s stated policies and positions on ethical SEO, and contrasts that with actual rankings that tell another story. At the very least, this is an interesting look into why Google is far from creating the perfect search algorithm. Analysis By: Wil Reynolds, SEOmoz

What Marketers Should Know About Facebook Brand Timelines

The Facebook Timeline will be fully active for every Brand page by the end of April. As such, marketers should plan and embrace some of the changes it presents to their social media strategy. Victoria Ransom offers six new features that warrant consideration. Analysis By: Victoria Ransom, Mashable

INFOGRAPHIC: Local Search, Trust, And Social Networks

Like tzatziki sauce and a gyro, mobile devices and local search are perfect together. Localize has created an infographic demonstrating how much more people trust and use social networks and local search results compared to paid search listings. Analysis By: Miranda Miller, Search Engine Watch

Different Mobile Devices Demand Different Optimization Tactics

If you haven’t caught onto the mobile SEO theme yet, you probably never will. Mobile SEO is the “thing” for 2012, and as such, Internet marketers are prepping accordingly (if they want to make money, that is). Eli Goodman points out that tablets and smartphones function differently, as should your mobile SEO plans. Analysis By: Eli Goodman, Search Engine Watch

The Real Impact Of Mobile Marketing

Lauren Johnson takes a look into the real-world impact of building and maintaining a mobile website/app presence. Specifically, the Humane Society has experienced a considerable rise in traffic simply through a good mobile marketing strategy. Analysis By: Lauren Johnson, Mobile Commerce Daily

The Reasons For Viral Videos

YouTube’s trend manager, Kevin Allocca, stopped by TEDYouth this week to talk about a question asked by marketers and video viewers: Why do videos go viral? Allocca breaks down this phenomenon into three different factors, and expands on them from there. Analysis By: Kevin Allocca, Gizmodo

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